Savouring a cosy cookie with hot cocoa or coffee on a chilly day is pure bliss. While the market offers an array of cookies, there's a special magic in homemade ones. As winter sets in, if you're planning to bake delectable cookies at home, we have the perfect recipe for you.
Renowned Chef Vineet Bhatia, the first Indian chef-patron to be awarded a MICHELIN star, boasts multiple globally acclaimed restaurants, with Indego by Vineet standing out in Dubai. To elevate your sweet indulgence, Chef Vineet Bhatia has created a sumptuous fig-fennel cookie accompanied by thyme sorbet, fig jelly, and a delightful crisp.
Drawing inspiration from his travels in London and Italy, this cookie promises to be a delectable treat for you and your loved ones, adding a touch of culinary magic to your winter days.
For the fig-fennel cookie:
400g dried figs chopped
50 g raisins
1 whole orange with peel
1 tablespoon roasted, crushed fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
100 g pecan nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
For the cookie dough:
250g unsalted butter, softened
500g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 eggs, lightly beaten
150 ml whole milk
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon fresh orange peel, finely grated
For the fig jelly:
300g figs, fresh
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 leaves gelatine, bloomed
For the thyme sorbet:
300 ml water
3 sprigs of 25g fresh thyme
1 tablespoon honey
For the fig crisps:
2 figs, cut into thin slices with the skin
2 pods of green cardamom, crushed
Icing sugar to dust
Thyme leaves to garnish
For Fig-Fennel Cookie Roll
1. To make the fig-fennel cookie roll, finely chop figs, raisins, and deseeded orange segments in a food processor. If the mixture seems too thick and dry, add a bit of water; typically, the juice from fresh oranges should suffice. Add the roasted and crushed fennel seeds, ground spices, and chopped pecan nuts. Mix well, transfer to a bowl, and let it cool.
For The Cookie Dough
2. To prepare the cookie dough, place softened butter, sugar, plain flour, and baking powder in a bowl. Gently mix using your fingertips or a pastry blender until you achieve a crumb-like texture. Add eggs, milk, and orange zest using a fork until a soft dough forms. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
3. Once that is set, roll the dough into a large rectangle of about 1/2 cm thickness on a well-floured surface. Trim to get straight-line edges and keep the trimmings aside to be re-used again. Cut the dough into strips of 3 inches in width. Arrange the fig–fennel filling lengthwise down centre of each strip. Fold the sides of each strip over the filling to enclose it, pinching edges together to seal.
4. Turn the rolls seam-sides down and press gently to flatten the seams. Using a diagonal cut, cut the logs with a floured knife and arrange ½ inch apart on a greased baking tray. Bake the rolls in a preheated oven at 175C for 8-10 minutes or till the fig rolls turn golden. Remove and transfer to wire rack and cool.
For Fig Jelly
5. Now, let's make the fig jelly. In a food processor, blend figs, vanilla extract, and water until you achieve a smooth fig puree. Soak the gelatin leaves in cold water for approximately 5 minutes until they become soft.
6. Heat the fig puree in a small saucepan, add sugar, and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat, add the soaked gelatin (squeezing out excess water), and stir well. Strain the mixture and pour it onto a flat baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
7. Allow it to set. Once set, cut it into rectangles measuring 1x4 inches.
For Thyme sorbet
8. Bring water to a boil with fresh thyme; add sugar and honey, mixing until dissolved in the water. Remove from heat and allow the thyme to steep in the mixture, preferably overnight. Discard the thyme, then churn the mixture in a sorbetiere or ice cream machine. Serve the sorbet frozen.
For Fig crisp
In a small saucepot, bring water, sugar, and crushed cardamom pods to a boil. Remove from heat and steep fig slices in this syrup for approximately two minutes. Take the fig slices out of the syrup and arrange them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
Sprinkle icing sugar over the fig slices and let them air-dry naturally for 24 hours, turning them upside down every 4 hours. Store the fig crisps in an airtight container.
Arrange the slices of the warm fig cookie roll on the plate. Place a quenelle of thyme sorbet on the fig jelly, and garnish the sorbet with a fig crisp and thyme leaves.
Vineet Bhatia MBE
Chef and Restaurateur